Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: a possible starter with the Miami Marlins has been traded for a minor leaguer. It’s déjà vu for Marlins fans as the team dealt shortstop Yunel Escobar to the Tampa Bay Rays Tuesday night.
The trade sent Escobar and his $5 million salary to Tampa in exchange for minor league infielder Derek Dietrich. It also continued the salary purge in Miami as owner Jeffrey Loria looks to once again have the lowest payroll in all of baseball.
With the Escobar trade, the Marlins have ditched $151.5 million in salaries from the books in just the past few weeks. Currently, the Marlins projected opening-day payroll to a major league-low $38 million in 2013.
The opening day payroll includes $4.5 million owed to Toronto; $1.5 million due to Arizona and $1 million to account for a prorated share of Heath Bell’s signing bonus. Subtracting the $7 million contained in non-roster money, the Marlins payroll as of Wednesday would be $31 million.
Just for comparison purposes, the Yankees paid Mark Teixeira and C.C. Sabathia $23 million apiece in 2012.
The purging of Escobar leaves right-handed pitcher Ricky Nolasco as the team’s highest-paid remaining player. Nolasco is set to be paid $11.5 million in 2013 and has made it known he doesn’t want to stay in Miami.
Nolasco will be a free agent after next season, so if he isn’t dealt during the winter meetings; he’ll likely be traded by next year’s trade deadline.
If the Marlins were to trade Nolasco, the roster costs would drop to $20 million on Opening Day.
Fans have called for the heads of Marlins management, but so far, Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association have yet to take any action against the team for their roster purge turning the team into a glorified Triple-A squad in 2013.
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